Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Seattle Boat Show

Let me say first that, as a motorcyclist, I have heard the same comments every hear about the motorcycle shows.
"The show sucks this year.  It's weak, lame and it doesn't have any good stuff."
Those comments are right. Why? There are no real decent speakers at the International Motorcycle show and a lot of crappy vendors.

So, on the boat show....We have a five day pass to the show. We decided to attend for many reasons:

1) There are some seminars (so far 3 positive, 1 "eh" and 1 negative) that we were interested in. We find some of the seminars useful for us. Kerry is just learning and she likes hearing suggestions, on living aboard tops, provisioning, electrical systems, sailing technique, rigging, etc. I find some seminars educational and some "confirmatory" (they reinforce some things I already know or think I know -- things like sizing batter chargers and alternators to battery banks).

2) Being able to talk one-on-one with various vendors without having to drive from store to store. I'm talking the actual vendors, not the sales kids at West Marine or the somewhat lackadaisical responses I sometimes get at Fisheries.

3) Seeing new technology that we are either interested in now (electrical systems, anchoring, etc) or want to remember for the future (wind vanes, liferafts, solar power).

4) Looking at *some* boats.

5) Seeing how people rig stuff. There is nothing like seeing some of the rigging displays. They are helpful to me.

6) Seeing people like Brion Toss and Carol Hassee talk. I like listing to brilliant folk, especially if they are entertaining.

Now, I really don't like crowds, but I'll put up with them for the show.

So far we have:

1) possibly made a decision on a new stove/heater that can get propane off my boat (increasing my safety, and giving me more storage), remove the Dickenson heater, let me close that hole in the cabin top and remove that chimney sticking out of the cabin roof.

2) got some really good leads on the upgrade of our electrical system -- what kind of batteries/charger/inverter we want and how much it may cost.

3) scoped out the designs of lazy jack systems. I want to replace mine when I get my new main.

4) Landed an awesome deal on a really nice Helly Hansen offshore jacket for Kerry ($135.00 price on a regular $350.00 retail).

5) got a lead on a good deal on an awesome anchor.  More to come on this.
So it's worth it to us. We enjoy doing it together. So it's been kind of insane. There is a lot to see. Most if it is junk. Some of the seminars are gold, some of them are a waste of time (at least you get to sit though).

The funniest moments are when I walk past a booth that is selling something I don't need (stuff for motor boats only, electronics I don't want and don't need, house barge vacations, land based real estate, etc) that say to me, literally, "you need this".

"No, I don't," I say as I smile and walk away.

Or better yet, "why do I need a large outboard engine controller for my 22,000 pound displacement, fill keel, sailboat?"

The challenging thing for me is the crowds (people do not know how to behave during stuff like this) and the bad food.

But all in all, it's worth going even though, after all weekend, I wish I had one more day off. It's seemed like work.